Cost: 179,000 VND/ 8 USD
Is it worth it? 6.5/10
Website: No need to book through a website. You can walk up to any tour guide company in Ho Chi Minh City and find a tour right away.
When I got to Ho Chi Minh City, I didn’t plan to do a tour of the Mekong Delta, but I figured, “Hey, when in Rome…” and booked a tour anyways. I am so happy that the tour didn’t cost too much money because all I can say was that I was very unimpressed with the tour and really was hoping for something more. I think I envisioned more slow boat rides through the swamplands and into the rice paddies. Unfortunately, I found myself on a tour on a fast boat cruising down the muddy waters with a group largely composed of senior citizens from London and Manchester. Needless to say, it was not what I had expected at all.
Unfortunately, I found myself on a tour on a fast boat cruising down the muddy waters with a group largely composed of senior citizens from London and Manchester. Needless to say, it was not what I had expected at all.
Vĩnh Tràng Temple Visit: If you have traveled Asia before, then you will know what I am about to say about this temple visit. Yes, the temple was beautiful and it is always interesting seeing people praying and practicing their faith however, I am so unimpressed by temples after living in Korea for two years. I understand that temples are unique to the region and time period that they were built, but it takes a lot for me to be truly impressed by a temple. Personally, I could have done without the temple, but it was a nice break after driving two hours and the giant Buddha statues made it worth the visit.
Worth it? 5/10
Riding on the Mekong Delta and Lunch: Oh the boat ride. Kate and I were just giving each other looks the whole time and I could tell we both were thinking, “WHAT did we get ourselves into?” Usually on tours, you can meet and chat with fellow backpackers, but instead I was completely at loss for words when I found myself sitting next to an older lady during the whole boat ride. I kept debating internally if I should ask her what she thought about The Cold War or maybe if she ever saw The Beatles perform live, but I just kept my mouth shut. Overall, this was the point in the day when I really started to wish that I did something else with my time. Oh and just to top it all off, we had a free lunch, BUT it was clear as to why it was free. I am not one to complain about food ever but when the food can barely feed a toddler, then I know there are going to be some problems. Maybe I am just being a diva, but at this point I was very critical of the tour.
Worth it? 3/10
Going down the Mekong Delta via canoe: This was the best part of the tour, but it was less than 15 minutes of it! I really wish that this was the majority of the tour, but seeing as there are so many tour groups coming in and out, it’s easy to understand why they had such a short time limit on it.
Worth it? 10/10
trying local snacks and hearing traditional music: This part interested me since it included two of my favorite ways of celebrating culture: food and music. Here we were able to try coconut candies, local tea with honey and some fresh fruit, all while listening to some musicians play traditional Vietnamese instruments! We also had some singers perform, which I absolutely loved and couldn’t get enough of. This was definitely one of the better parts of the tour for me.
Worth it? 8/10
Overall, the tour was alright, but I really wish that it focused on different areas that I found more enjoyable. I think that when going to places as touristy as the Mekong Delta, you can’t expect to have as much time in the iconic locations since so many people are coming in and out of that area every day. If you want to see the Mekong Delta, then I would say the tour is an easy and fast way. Then again, if you can figure out your own mode of transportation and figure out your own tour (if possible), then I would say it is best for you to try and go on your own.
- Have transportation taken care for you
- Food taken care of for you
- Not many backpackers on this tour
- There is a set meal plan
- Have to follow structured schedule
- Have less time doing “interesting” portions of the tour